Real Repeal or #FakeRepeal?

June 28, 2017

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Thankfully, the GOP Senate “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA, “bic-rah”) vote is delayed. Last week, we were in Washington, D.C. asking members and staffers in 20 offices, including the offices of Speaker Paul Ryan and Iowa Rep. Steve King (see photo), to do a REAL REPEAL.

We said Republicans will lose if they fail to vote on a full repeal bill. Even if the vote is unsuccessful, it would provide a protective backstop to anything else they tried to do. At least they’d have kept their word.

But one staffer asked, “Why do you want another vote?” He claimed they’d taken so many repeal votes that everyone knew how members would vote. We said a repeal vote under Obama would be nothing like a repeal vote under Trump. We also told him that they have no idea, despite the “whip count,” how Members will vote if forced to vote. He begrudgingly conceded our points.

We had several additional requests. Here are five:

1.     Disable Obamacare. If they wouldn’t or couldn’t repeal Obamacare, leave it an empty shell, on the ground, gasping for air. Do not give it life by maintaining its funding (e.g. premium and cost-sharing reduction subsidies, exchange funding, insurer bailouts, taxes)

2.     Enable opt-out. Repeal the Obamacare prohibition of affordable indemnity coverage for catastrophic (insurable) conditions. Give 6 million penalty-paying Americans and 20 million exemption-claiming American an option for affordable true insurance.

3.     End ‘pre-existing condition’ problem. First, instead of establishing a new government program for the individual market (‘reinsurance’), encourage pre-Obamacare state high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. Then advance ownership by providing tax equity (same deductible for individuals who buy their own policies as employers receive today) and encouraging pre-birth insurance (individual policy purchased for children pre-birth and transferred to them at maturity).

4.     Stop saying “pre-existing conditions.” Use “uninsurable conditions.” Change how Americans think about guaranteed issue (GI) of coverage or the drive to “cover everyone” through GI will lead to socialized medicine.

5.     Make it real to working Americans. Do not use the term “redistribution of wealth.” Say “redistribution of wages.” Most people have wages they don’t want ‘redistributed’ to others. Few consider themselves wealthy.

Tellingly, the word ‘repeal’ has faded away. Voices simply discuss the ‘health care’ bill. Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber happily claims the Senate bill is not repeal. He calls it “Obamacare 0.5.” A 10-point Texas Policy Institute one-pager shows why. For example, the individual mandate is NOT repealed. Only the penalty is zeroed out.

Thus, the battle that resumes after July 4th is over #FakeRepeal. That said, given the strong opposition conservative Members, it’s possible that a full repeal amendment could be offered to actually force a vote on full and real repeal. Use this delay to ask for REAL REPEAL. (Call state office or Capitol Switchboard: #202-224-3121)

Thank you to those who supported this week on Capitol Hill in D.C. Members and staffers took many notes and thanked us for bringing them fresh ideas. Thanks for being on our team!

Advancing #RealRepeal of Obamacare,


Twila Brase, RN, PHN

President and Co-founder